Southfield (CBS Detroit) – Nearly 14 months after it began, the pandemic’s grip is finally loosening as Elizabeth Hertel, Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, talked about with Senior Producer/Host Carol Cain on “Michigan Matters” airing 7:30 am Sunday on CBS 62.

Michigan Matters Host Carol Cain, with Elizabeth Hertel, Director of MDHHS

Hertel, who stepped into the top health job in the state in January, discussed 2021 and the ups and downs along the way as the state and nation navigated this 100-year pandemic. She discussed Covid restrictions being loosened in the state with less need for masks and social distancing as more residents are vaccinated.

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Hertel credited President Joe Biden, who was in Michigan on Tuesday touring Ford’s Rouge assembly plant, for helping guide the country on its path forward from the health crisis.

Michigan Matters Host Carol Cain, with State Sen. Stephanie Chang, (D) District 1

Then State Sen. Stephanie Chang, a Democrat who represents District 1, appeared with Cain to discuss the pandemic and its impact not only on the health of the state, but the well being of Asian citizens who are facing serious issues as an offshoot of the crisis.

The first Asian American woman to be elected to the state legislature, Chang discussed the current climate and need for more people to step up and stop the injustice and hate crimes. On Thursday, President Biden signed into law the COVID-19 Hate Crime Act as it is intended to bolster law enforcement’s response to attacks on people of Asian descent during the pandemic.

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Chang also gave credit to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her handling of the health crisis.

Michigan Matters Host Carol Cain, with Lisa Gray, Co-Chair of the North American Chinese Coalition

Then Lisa Gray, Co-Chair of the North American Chinese Coalition and Founder of Dragon Eagle TV-APIA News Network, appeared with Cain to talk about the turmoil and danger many Asian Americans are facing.

Gray, an American citizen who has spent years helping to grow economic bridges and share culture between China and Michigan, was so concerned she helped organize a Stop Asian Hate rally in Detroit in March and worked with dozens of other local organizations and the city of Detroit to help put the event together.

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Watch MICHIGAN MATTERS, Sunday ay 7:30am on CBS 62